Nikola Jokic, the two-time MVP, finally won his first championship after 4 seasons of complete struggle. His story from Serbia to the NBA included quite a lot of ups and downs, though those were nothing compared to the last seven seasons of pure work. Jokic was the first piece to Denver’s dream team which has now got the franchise its first ring. In Serbia, Jokic was a dominant player, as famous as he was, he didn’t plan to play in the NBA.
Growing up, Nikola wasn’t a teen athlete with a strict regime. He loved spending time in the stable with horses more than playing basketball. And at the age of 13-14, Jokic decided to quit playing basketball.
His father later talked with his trainer to put him back in training. While he wasn’t fully focused on the game, Jokic was still putting up monstrous numbers in the Serbian Youth League. As a young kid, Jokic once wore his future team’s merch, though little did he know he would become the face of the same team.
Nikola Jokic was a Denver Nugget all along
An old image of 5-year-old Jokic was posted on the internet. Young Nikola is wearing a Denver Nuggets sweater and has a tennis racket, standing with his brother. It seems like Jokic had decided at the same time that he wanted to represent the Nuggets one day.
Nikola Jokic wearing a Nuggets sweatshirt when he was 5 years old. 🤯🤯
(via misko4raznatovic/IG) pic.twitter.com/agBTPFcDSm
— theScore (@theScore) June 13, 2023
Fast forward to 23 years, Jokic led the franchise to its first championship, while also winning the Finals MVP award. Looking back at his habits, it wouldn’t seem that Nikola would ever be able to play at such a level.
As a teen, the Joker’s diet consisted of solely junk food, including cakes, cookies, Serbian sweets, and around three liters of coke. His conditioning was not like that of a basketball player. Jokic once missed a game due to a sore hand. After eliminating all the instances from practice, it turned out that it was the autographs that Nikola had signed for an hour straight, which had his hand sore.
Though later on Jokic would improve his routine as well as his diet. It took the Serbian big man a while to get used to the league’s pace, as he did figure out his own game against the athletic players of the league. It is interesting to see how a young kid with no real desire to pursue his basketball career is now a world champion.